Arm wrestling gaining momentum in Alabama - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Arm wrestling gaining momentum in Alabama

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Arm wrestling is more than one child's challenge to another at the lunchroom table, or something done in a bar to win a drink. There are rules, techniques, preparation. Most importantly, people who participate say this is a legitimate sport.

"A lot of people, when they think of arm wrestling, they think of two people in bar and the loser wants to fist fight and it's nothing like that," said Lee Culpepper.

Challenge Lee Culpepper to an arm wrestling match just for kicks, and he'll probably shrug you off.  Come face to face with him at a standard arm wrestling table, then it's game on.

"When we go there are two referees. It's generally at the nicest ballroom in town at the nicest hotel. It's just a well organized event," said Culpepper.

 Yes, arm wrestling competitions do exist. Members of the Alabama Arm Sports team travel and compete against arm wrestlers locally, nationally and internationally. 

"I've been fortunate enough to be a twelve time national champion. I have four gold medals, four time world champion," said Culpepper.

 Some organizations say arm wrestling can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where a painting of what appears to be an arm wrestling contest was found in a tomb. Since then rules have been established, techniques developed and books written about the sport. 

"Three basic rules in arm wrestling. You have a top roll where you're turning you opponents wrist over. The you have hook, set in the bicep cut you wrist in sideways. Then they got what they call a should roll. Line up and straight down with the shoulder," said Terry Burgin.

Burgin warns, don't be fooled by the size an opponent's arm. Strength is not the only advantage. 

"It's a lot mental, knowing what to do against your opponent. Speeds got a lot to do with it."

In addition to techniques, there are referee rules to abide by, strength training and hours of practice. Glenn Brooks, who is also a national arm wrestling champion, says above all else, they want to be taken seriously. 

"It's a wonderful sport and i'll probably do it until i kick over one day."

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